Tom Judson has had an interesting journey. He’s composed for movies, TV (as diverse fare as MTV and Sesame Street. He’s toured the country in the Broadway musicals Cabaret and 42nd Street. And in the middle of one of those tours he was discovered, at age 42, by Chi Chi LaRue who made him into gay porn star Gus Mattox. It’s quite a departure from the usual story of a porn actor trying to go mainstream.
Judson turned his story into the one man show Canned Ham a couple years ago and we caught his summer stint playing in Provincetown. He talked about his husband, who passed away in the late 90s from AIDS, his stint as an escort to pay bills, how he got into Broadway musicals because he can sing and play multiple instruments (and not because he can dance) and what it’s like to work in adult films.
We got a great sample of his musical ability as he played the accordion, sax, clarinet, trumpet and piano. He also sang songs from the shows he toured with.
It was a fascinating hour, hearing how Judson went from thing to thing getting the most he could from the experience. After three years in porn, he became a house flipper and when the economy soured that he started work on this show and as a performer backing other artists, such as Varla Jean Merman (we saw him perform with her last night).
Talk about a multidimensional individual. I wish he’d gone into how he became so musical and what that training was because it was impressive watching him move so easily between instruments.
Hopefully he’ll mount another show to tell more stories. He’s an engaging story teller and I’d love to hear more.